Recipe courtesy of Michele Urvater

Penne with Swiss Chard and Leeks in a Walnut Cream Sauce

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  • Total: 20 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: 2 to 3 servings
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2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup minced leek, white and pale green part

1 pound swiss chard (red if possible), stems cut from leaves and chopped into thin slices

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes-optional

1/3 cup canned chicken broth

2/3 to 1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon walnut or similar nut oil (such as hazelnut)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 pound penne, cooked and drained according to package directions

3 tablespoons toasted walnut halves, broken into large pieces

2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or parsley or a combination of both

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese-optional garnish


  1. In a skillet set over moderately low heat melt butter, add leek, chard stems, and salt and pepper to taste. Cut a round piece of waxed paper to fit the size of your skillet and place it over the vegetables. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and waxed paper. Now add the chard leaves, garlic, red pepper flakes, and broth and simmer the mixture stirring occasionally, uncovered for 5 minutes more. Increase the heat to high and reduce liquid until almost evaporated. Add the cream and walnut oil and simmer sauce over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer cooked pasta to a large bowl. Add the sauce, toasted walnuts and toss to combine. Transfer pasta to serving plates and sprinkle with tarragon or parsley. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.